“Opening a Star Gate to the Dark Gods”: Psychic Espionage, Satanic “Cults,” & Occult Nazis on the Dark Web

“Opening a Star Gate to the Dark Gods”:
Psychic Espionage, Satanic “Cults,” & Occult Nazis on the Dark Web

Tuesday, March 23, 2021  •  11:00am  •  Online, via Zoom

There are places on the internet you can’t find with ordinary web searches. Alongside the ordinary clearnet we use every day, another deepweb is full of websites specifically hidden from the indexes of mainstream search engines. Outside the panopticon of conventional policing, a subset of the deepweb known as “the dark web” contains markets for illegal drugs, hacking groups selling their services, and underground networks of terrorists, assassins, and pornographers. Alongside these better-known dangers, it also hosts spell books and occult secret societies.

Departing from a particular darkweb occult library, this talk will unravel a tangled skein that connects a 1947-48 Chilean expedition to establish an air base in Antarctica to the US military’s “Star Gate” remote viewing project to a far-right explicitly “satanic” Neo-Nazi secret society. Along the way we will encounter people who believe in: telepathy; psychokinesis; virtual voodoo; dark enlightenment; the reality of Satan; the recovered magical traditions of an isolated coven of witches in the Welsh Marches; and much, much more.

Although believers in magic and the paranormal can be found across the political spectrum, it will turn out that groups promoting many of these particular beliefs are a growing influence among far-right extremists across the globe.

Taken together, this talk aims to shed light on white supremacy, contemporary antisemitism, the myth of disenchantment, the Cold War psychic military industrial complex, “porous selves,” and the dark underbelly of the “post-secular.”

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About the speaker:

Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm is Chair and Professor of Religion and Chair of Science & Technology Studies at Williams College. He received his master of theological studies from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. He has held visiting positions at Princeton University, École Française d’Extrême-Orient in France and Ruhr-Universität and Universität Leipzig in Germany. He has three primary research foci: Japanese religions, European intellectual history, and theory more broadly.

Storm sees himself largely as a historian and philosopher of the Human Sciences. The common thread to his research is an attempt to decenter received narratives in the study of religion and science. His main targets have been epistemological obstacles, the preconceived universals and cultural commonplaces that serve as the foundations of various discourses. Storm has also been working to articulate new research models in the wake of the collapse of poststructuralism as a guiding paradigm for the Human Sciences. 

His award-winning book, The Invention of Religion in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2012) traces the importation of the Euro-American concepts of “religion,” “science,” and “secularism” into Japan and traced the sweeping changes—intellectual, legal, and cultural—that followed.

His second book, The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences (University of Chicago Press, 2017) attends to European historical and cultural context of the formation of the Human Sciences and the construction of “religion” as an object of humanistic inquiry. 

Metamodernism:  The Future of Theory (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming), his third book in the trilogy, articulates new research methods for the humanities and social sciences by simultaneously radicalizing and moving past the postmodern turn. 

Storm is also working on a further book-length theory manuscript on “Power and Causation,” which provides a novel theory of causation for the human sciences and explores its implications for a new theory of power.

Register for this webinar 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 • 11:00am
Online, via Zoom (Link provided with registration)